Best Chain Restaurant Meals for Pregnant Women
1. Panera Bread
This upscale café is the perfect place to stop for a bite when you're out test-driving strollers and choosing car seats.
Best Vegetarian Pick: Lentil quinoa bowl
Even hard-core meat eaters should try this dish, Scritchfield says, because it's jam-packed with baby-friendly ingredients such as fiber-rich lentils, egg, kale, and spinach. 360 calories/12g fat
Most Satisfying Salad: Strawberry, poppy-seed, and chicken salad
This yummy pick gives you filling protein from antibiotic-free chicken, plus vitamin-packed strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges, and pecans on a bed of romaine lettuce. 350 calories/13g fat
Best Comfort Food: Tomato-mozzarella flatbread and vegetable garden soup
Our experts approve of this healthy grilled-cheese- and-soup combination, which includes more greens and veggies than the classic version. 480 calories/22g fat
2. Boston Market
For pregnant women who crave homey food but are too tired to cook, this take-out place will warm your tummy.
Best Comfort Food: Roasted turkey market bowl
No need to wait until Thanksgiving! Treat yourself to the mashed potatoes and gravy, and choose fresh steamed vegetables as your other side. 480 calories/21g fat
Biggest Protein Punch: Rotisserie chicken
Pair the quarter portion's juicy skinless breast with sides of steamed vegetables, garlic-dill new potatoes, and cranberry-walnut relish. 530 calories/11g fatMost Satisfying Salad: Southwest Santa Fe salad
Spice up your roast chicken with fixings like onion, corn, cheddar cheese, tortilla strips, and chipotle dressing. 530 calories/30g fat
The chain's "Have it All" entrées are full of flavors that satisfy.
Best All-Around Meal: Pepper-crusted sirloin with whole grains
This dish, dubbed by Brandeis a "nutritional home run," includes iron-rich meat, whole grains, mushrooms, spinach, and tomatoes. 350 calories/10g fat
Strongest Swimmer: Savory cedar salmon
This plate packs omega-3s for your baby's brain and eyesight, and the lemon-artichoke spread is delish. 540 calories/32g fat
Biggest Protein Punch: Napa chicken and portobello mushrooms
You'll get a whopping 50 grams of protein in this vitamin-rich dish. 500 calories/16g fat
4. Olive Garden
The portions served at America's most popular Italian-style chain are ginormous. Some tip the scales at 1,500 calories, and that doesn't include the famous bread sticks. Order wisely from these menu options.
For Your Carb Craving: Tricolored vegetable penne with five-cheese marinara and chicken meatballs
Our experts put together this combo from the menu's "Create Your Own Pasta" section. The chicken meatballs help keep the calorie count down, but it's still a big meal, so take half home. Half-portion: 510 calories/23g fat
Strongest Swimmer: Baked tilapia with shrimp and parmesan- garlic broccoli
Light, flaky tilapia is a tasty fish option if you're not a fan of salmon, and the shrimp adds even more protein. 360 calories/12g fat
Biggest Protein Punch: Garlic rosemary chicken
This flavor-packed dish, found on the "Lighter Italian Fare" menu, comes with parmesan- garlic mashed potatoes and calcium-rich spinach to help build your baby's bones and teeth. 540 calories/20g fat
5. Red Lobster
Strap on your own bib, Mama! As long as you avoid high-mercury species like swordfish, shark, and mackerel, you can (and should!) eat 8 to 12 ounces of seafood a week.
Strongest Swimmer: Broiled wild-caught flounder or sole with baked potato and asparagus
Wild-caught fish usually have even lower amounts of mercury than farm-raised varieties. And the baked potato has less sodium and fat than mashed or fried. Instead of butter, top it with low-fat sour cream. 385 calories/6g fat
Worthy Indulgence: Whole Maine lobster with wild rice pilaf and steamed broccoli
Want to feel like you're on a sailboat in Maine? This protein-packed shellfish will do the trick. Instead of dunking forkfuls of lobster in butter, Brandeis suggests you ask for a side of cocktail sauce and dip the shellfish in that. 450 calories/9g fat
Biggest Protein Punch: Wood-grilled peppercorn sirloin and shrimp
Can't decide whether you're in the mood for steak or fish? This lean sirloin topped with grilled shrimp gives you a healthy taste of both. Go for steamed broccoli as the side to keep the fat and calorie count under control. 610 calories/29g fat
Skip the nachos and check out the tempting options in the "Lighter Choices" section.
Biggest Protein Punch 6-oz. Classic sirloin with grilled avocado
Not only does the sirloin provide lean protein and iron, but it's topped with a sliced avocado, which contains fiber (to help keep you regular) and folate (crucial to preventing birth defects). Served with a green salad and garlic-roasted tomatoes, this dish is Dogert's favorite pick from all the meals that we reviewed. 410 calories/20g fat
Strongest Swimmer: Mango-chili tilapia
A habanero mango glaze and more of that nutritious avocado (with healthy fats for Baby's cell development) are combined with citrus-chile rice and steamed broccoli for a delicious dish that's both sweet and spicy. 520 calories/18g fatBest Comfort Food: Bowl of Terlingua chili with a fresco salad
This meal is higher in fat than other picks, but the beef and beans pack a lot of protein, and the salad adds a healthy crunch. 530 calories/38g fat
Design your own meal at this trendy Mexican grill.
Best Vegetarian Pick: Salad with organic sofritas, pinto beans, vegetables, brown rice, roasted chili-corn salsa
This spiced tofu concoction is seriously yummy. 580 calories/19g fat
Biggest Protein Punch: Burrito bowl with chicken, black beans, brown rice, vegetables, cheese, tomato salsa
Dig into a tortilla-less burrito bursting with fiber, protein, and flavor. 650 calories/22g fat
For Your Carb Craving: Burrito with steak, vegetables, black beans, tomato salsa
If you prefer to eat with your hands, skip the rice. 650 calories/8g fat
8. P.F. Chang's
Take a seat at this Asian-inspired chain to indulge your craving for spicy, tangy flavor.
Top Tummy Soother: Ginger chicken with broccoli and quinoa
Scritchfield gives the thumbs-up to this fresh take on a classic dish. Ginger is a soothing antidote for bouts of nausea and will also help control your blood sugar. 610 calories/8g fat
Best Comfort Food: Vegetable lo mein
Noodle lovers can down an entire portion of this classic dish, which contains vitamin-rich vegetables, and still stay well under the recommended calorie limit for a meal. 490 calories/6g fat
Best Vegetarian Pick: Stir-fried Buddha's feast
This colorful dish serves up antioxidant-rich vegetables and tofu for protein and calcium. 420 calories/17g fat
9. Cheesecake Factory
This chain—best known for sugar bombs—has added more light options.
For Your Carb Craving: Skinnylicious chicken pasta
This entrée sneaks in protein, fresh tomatoes, and basil. Feel free to finish the plate! 540 calories/30g fat
Best Vegetarian Pick:Veggie burger
Dogert gives top marks to this high-fiber sandwich. 590 calories/10g fatBest Comfort Food: Grilled steak medallions
Juicy meat, potatoes, asparagus, and mushrooms sound decadent, but you'll still have room for a few bites of some cheesecake. 590 calories/15g fat
10. Outback Steakhouse
Step away from the gut-busting blooming onion! It's meant to be shared, of course, but you know you'll eat more than you should (who can resist?). Dig into these Aussie entrées instead.
Best All-Around Meal: Grilled chicken on the barbie with mixed veggies
You'll get to dip into the BBQ sauce without guilt—and say "on the barbie" when you order. 460 calories/13g fat
Biggest Protein Punch: 6-oz. Special sirloin
This satisfying steak is one of the most flavorful cuts and just the right size. Pair it with veggies and a house salad. 588 calories/33g fat
Strongest Swimmer: Perfectly grilled salmon with mixed veggies
The preg-friendly salmon is rich in omega-3s, and the seafood seasoning is mouth-watering. 535 calories/35g fat